: Eskimo Folktales

Isigaligarssik was a wifeless man, and he was very strong. One of

the other men in his village was a wizard.

Isigaligarssik was taken to live in a house with many brothers,

and they were very fond of him.

When the wizard was about to call upon his spirits, it was his custom

to call in through the window: "Only the married men may come and

hear." And when they who were to hear the spirit call
ng went out,

a little widow and her daughter and Isigaligarssik always stayed

behind together in the house. Once, when all had gone out to hear

the wizard, as was their custom, these three were thus left alone

together. Isigaligarssik sat by the little lamp on the side bench,

at work.

Suddenly he heard the widow's daughter saying something in her mother's

ear, and then her mother turned towards him and said:

"This little girl would like to have you."

Isigaligarssik would also like to have her, and before the others of

the house had come back, they were man and wife. Thus when the others

of the house had finished and came back, Isigaligarssik had found a

wife, and his house-fellows were very glad of this.

Next day, as soon as it was dark, one called, as was the custom: "Let

only those who have wives come and hear." And Isigaligarssik, who had

before had no wife, felt now a great desire to go and hear this. But as

soon as he had come in, the great wizard said to Isigaligarssik's wife:

"Come here; here."

When she had sat down, he told her to take off her shoes, and then

he put them up on the drying frame. Then they made a spirit calling,

and when that was ended, the wizard said to Isigaligarssik:

"Go away now; you will never have this dear little wife of yours


And then Isigaligarssik had to go home without a wife. And

Isigaligarssik had to live without a wife. And every time there was

a spirit calling, and he went in, the wizard would say:

"Ho, what are you doing here, you who have no wife?"

But now anger grew up slowly in him at this, and once when he came

home, he said:

"That wizard in there has mocked me well, but next time he asks me,

I shall know what to answer."

But the others of the village warned him, and said:

"No, no; you must not answer him. For if you answer him, then he will

kill you."

But one evening when the bad wizard mocked him as usual Isigaligarssik


"Ho, and what of you who took my wife away?"

Now the wizard stood up at once, and when Isigaligarssik bent down

towards the entrance to creep out, the wizard took a knife, and

stabbed him with a great wound.

Isigaligarssik ran quickly home to his house, and said to his wife's


"Go quickly now and take the dress I wore when I was little. [4]

It is in the chest there."

And when she took it out, it was so small that it did not look like a

dress at all, but it was very pretty. And he ordered her then to dip

it in the water bucket. When it was wet, he was able to put it on, and

when the lacing thong at the bottom touched the wound, it was healed.

Now when his house-fellows came out after the spirit-calling they

thought to find him lying dead outside the entrance. They followed

the blood spoor, and at last he had gone into the house. When they

came in, he had not a single wound, and all were very glad for that

he was healed again. And now he said:

"To-morrow I will go bow-shooting with him."

Then they slept, and awakened, and Isigaligarssik opened his little

chest and searched it, and took out a bow that was so small it

could hardly be seen in his hands. He strung that bow, and went out,

and said:

"Come out now and see." Then they went out, and he went down to the

wizard's house, and called through the window:

"Big man in there; come out now and let us shoot with the bow!" And

when he had said this, he went and stood by a little river. When he

turned to look round, the wizard was already by the passage of his

house, aiming with his bow.

He said: "Come here." And then Isigaligarssik drew up spittle in his

mouth and spat straight down beside his feet.

"Come here," he said then, to the great wizard. Then he went over

to him, and came nearer and nearer, and stopped just before him. Now

the wizard aimed with his bow towards him, and when he did this, the

house-fellows cried to Isigaligarssik: "Make yourself small!" And he

made himself so small that only his head could be seen moving backwards

and forwards. The wizard shot and missed. And a second time he shot

and missed.

Then Isigaligarssik stood up, and took the arrow, and broke it across

and said:

"Go home; you cannot hit." And then the wizard went off, turning many

times to look round. At last, when he bent down to get into his house

through the passage way, Isigaligarssik aimed and shot at him. And

they heard only the sound of his fall. The arrow was very little,

and yet for all that it sent him all doubled up through the entrance,

so that he fell down in the passage.

In this way Isigaligarssik won his wife again, and he lived with her

afterwards until death.